Help support vulnerable children and young people during the Covid-19 crisis.
Covid-19 has increased the number of children and young people in London at risk of ‘food insecurity’ – this means that they cannot guarantee sufficient quality or quantity of food.
In 2019, the Greater London Authority estimated that 400,000 children aged 16 or under were in food insecurity. Of these, only 196,000 will qualify for the new Government food voucher scheme during the pandemic, meaning at least 200,000 may go hungry. This figure is likely to be higher because of rising unemployment and loss of self-employment income. In addition, many food banks are struggling.
Kitchen Social, a Mayor’s Fund for London programme, is the largest provider of food for children in London during the school holidays.
Now that schools are closed and children are at home, Kitchen Social has stepped up to coordinate relief efforts with its own network of community organisations and other food charities to ensure food and supplies get to the children and families who need it most during the pandemic.
These organisations are working around the clock to provide packed lunches, hot food for collection and deliver fresh fruit and vegetable boxes to struggling families. We are aiming to provide healthy food for London’s children via our Kitchen Social programme for however long the crisis lasts.
Kitchen Social is a programme that addresses the growing and serious issue of children and young people facing food insecurity and social isolation outside of term time.
Poor nutrition and isolation not only affect a child’s physical wellbeing, but also their long-term educational attainment and employment prospects, thereby perpetuating the cycle of poverty. The programme gives children and young people a safe place to go during the school holidays where they can socialise, make new friends and get a free, healthy meal.
To date, the programme has worked with 122 hubs in 24 boroughs, to deliver 2,978 activity sessions and provide 97,792 meals to 21,124 children and young people.
COVID-19 has heightened inequalities in the UK and shone a spotlight on issues surrounding children’s access to food.
During this challenging time, and in partnership with Sustain, the alliance for better food and farming, we’ve brought together leaders from across the industry to discuss ways in which we can tackle food insecurity and protect children’s right to food.
Over the next few weeks, our #DigitalDigest series will bring you thoughts and opinions from experts in their fields and webinars discussing some of the key food issues we’re facing right now.
We believe that free holiday provision should be high-quality, inclusive and sustainable. At present, provision in both London and the rest of the UK remains far from this vision.
There remain key challenges and opportunities that we are well positioned to respond to in order to advance this vision.
Kitchen Social has three key objectives:
- To test and prove a model for London, supported by a compelling evidence base.
- To galvanise the London community around this issue, raise awareness of the negative impact on young people and build infrastructure that supports delivery of solutions.
- To campaign along other stakeholders for national policy change to ensure that free holiday provision for low income young people is high quality, inclusive and sustainable.